East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://www.ernhw.org.uk/ Sat, 25 May 2019 15:23:43 +0000 Kunena 1.6 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/components/com_kunena/template/default/images/icons/rss.png East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum http://www.ernhw.org.uk/ en-gb Subject: Funeral parlour plans thrown out over safety fears - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45812-funeral-parlour-plans-thrown-out-over-safety-fears#45812 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45812-funeral-parlour-plans-thrown-out-over-safety-fears#45812
Safety fears caused councillors to reject plans to transform a Barrhead pub into a funeral parlour.

Sava Estates’ application to open the business on the site of the former Hurlet Carvery had been recommended for approval by council planning chiefs.

However, councillors on the planning panel ignored the advice, deciding to snub the proposal, which had received numerous complaints from nearby residents.

In a tight vote, three councillors – Betty Cunningham, Jim Fletcher and Stewart Miller – voted against the plan while two, Annette Ireland and Angela Convery, ruled in favour.

Councillor Miller said those who had visited the site had raised concerns over its exit, branding it “too dangerous”.

He said: “You had to be 3/4 of the way out of the exit before you could see what was comin. It was too dangerous. That’s the only reason I went against it.”

He said even councillors who had voted for the plan had spoke out about issues around the exit.

Dozens of objections to the scheme were submitted, with residents raised concerns over an increase in traffic and noise pollution as well as a negative impact on greenspace, wildlife and property values.

They said an alternative site should be found for the funeral parlour, which would have been erected just yards away from where East Renfrewshire’s first crematorium will be built.

One resident said: “This development will be an eyesore. One does not want to be reminded of one’s mortality all the time.”

Sava Estates planned to build a service area for ceremonies, with a capacity of 40 to 50 people, four viewing areas, a foyer and reception areas.]]>
Public Forum Wed, 22 May 2019 08:42:13 +0000
Subject: Latest Briefing Note - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45810-latest-briefing-note#45810 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45810-latest-briefing-note#45810 Link to latest Briefing Note]]> Public Forum Mon, 20 May 2019 12:12:00 +0000 Subject: East Renfrewshire councillor quits Change UK - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45809-east-renfrewshire-councillor-quits-change-uk#45809 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45809-east-renfrewshire-councillor-quits-change-uk#45809
15/05/2019

East Renfrewshire councillor quits Change UK for Liberal Democrats

AN East Renfrewshire councillor has shocked the political landscape after he quit an anti-Brexit party for the Liberal Democrats, writes Gregg Kelly.

David Macdonald, an independent councillor for Clarkston, Netherlee and Williamwood, quit the newly formed Change UK just eight days before the EU election.

He had been the party's leading candidate in Scotland but is now urging voters to side with the Lib Dems - who are also pro-remain - in a bid to stop Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.

Mr MacDonald said: “For me it was just purely about the mathematics of this, we’re looking at a very different political landscape in Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

“We have a much more diluted Remain vote in Scotland, and its become very apparent close to these elections that we are in grave danger of splitting this vote and it is very clear to me now that we need to shore up the remain vote and get behind the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

“They are the force in politics in Scotland that are the clear voice for ending Brexit and for us remaining in the European .”

He added: “There comes a point in politics where you realise you have go to do something for the greater good.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie welcomed the decision – which comes after postal votes for the European elections have already been sent out.

Change UK spokesman Chuka Umunna said: “It is obviously disappointing that this candidate has chosen to pledge allegiance to another party – he has let down his fellow candidates and activists.

“But we are focusing all our efforts on adding to the Remain vote in the UK and challenging the pro-Brexit Tory, Brexit and Labour parties, which is why our leader challenged Nigel Farage to a live TV debate this week.

“In the past 24 hours Labour’s former head of campaigns for the north of England has come out for Change UK, as have many former Labour voters.

“Winning voters over from the main parties and growing the Remain vote across the UK will continue to be our focus.”]]>
Public Forum Wed, 15 May 2019 18:51:36 +0000
Subject: Roll increases at Giffnock school - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45808-roll-increases-at-giffnock-school#45808 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45808-roll-increases-at-giffnock-school#45808
St Ninian’s High School has been allowed to exceed its maximum intake of 300, with 320 students set to join for 2019/20.

The school currently has an ‘agreed planning capacity’ of 1,704 but, at September 2018, there were 1,776 students.

A report to councillors, by Director of Education Mhairi Shaw, states: “Schools can operate above their planning capacity. This is often the case in very popular schools, since they inevitably attract placing requests and so fill pupil year groups.

“Exceptionally efficient timetabling is used at St Ninian’s to ensure that there is the most effective use of all resources including maximum room utilisation.”

Following a 2016 policy change for dealing with oversubscribed schools, East Renfrewshire Council agreed to fund new temporary teaching rooms at St Ninian’s.

Officers are currently working with the school to ensure these are in place for 2021/22, when the school capacity will temporarily increase to 1,818 pupils.

“The additional accommodation to temporarily increase the school’s planning capacity is required over the period up until the 2023-24 S1 intake progresses through the school,” the report states.

“Thereafter, for the foreseeable future, there are expected to be sufficient places for baptised Roman Catholic children, residing in St Ninian’s catchment, to be placed in the school with an S1 intake of 300.

“It is planned that once the transitional period is over, accommodation at St Ninian’s will be reconfigured to revert to the current planning capacity and provide the school with additional social/ancillary space in discussion with the head teacher.”

In a Roman Catholic school, should catchment applications exceed available places then the highest priority is given to pupils baptised in the Roman Catholic faith.

During the S1 application process for August 2019, 279 pupils have been guaranteed a place, leaving space for a further 22 pupils.

There are an additional 55 children – 31 who are Catholic – now in the St Ninian’s catchment area seeking a place in August, taking the school into oversubscription.

Schools are now offering much more than the 'typical' school meal.
Legal challenge forces East Renfrewshire schools to put vegan meals on the menu
Under current arrangements, this would mean a ballot for the 22 available places between the 31 Catholic pupils.

However, 320 S1 places have been allocated to the school, allowing all pupils who attended an associated primary school and those baptised Catholic to join.

The remaining 13 pupils have been allocated a place at their nondenominational catchment school.

The report states: “In summary we have placed all baptised Roman Catholic S1 pupils who applied for St Ninian’s for August 2019, as known at March 2019.

“Of the total 320 catchment pupils at St Ninian’s, 246 are baptised Roman Catholic children and we have also been able to accommodate an additional 74 catchment children of other faiths/none applying to the school.”]]>
Public Forum Wed, 15 May 2019 09:55:29 +0000
Subject: The Cabinet meeting to be held on Thursday 16 May 2019 now cancelled - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45803-the-cabinet-meeting-to-be-held-on-thursday-16-may-2019-now-cancelled#45803 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45803-the-cabinet-meeting-to-be-held-on-thursday-16-may-2019-now-cancelled#45803
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MEETING OF THE CABINET DUE TO BE HELD ON 16 MAY 2019 HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE ARRANGEMENTS BEING MADE FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION ON THURSDAY 23 MAY 2019.]]>
Public Forum Tue, 14 May 2019 09:52:18 +0000
Subject: Legal challenge forces schools to put vegan meals on menu - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45802-legal-challenge-forces-schools-to-put-vegan-meals-on-menu#45802 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45802-legal-challenge-forces-schools-to-put-vegan-meals-on-menu#45802
A three-week vegan menu is available on request throughout the Glasgow area in schools and nurseries. Picture: Contributed

KEVAN CHRISTIE
Email

A vegan menu is now available in schools run by two local authorities in Scotland after human rights challenges by campaigners. The move follows a request from a parent in East Renfrewshire which was initially refused.

However campaign group Go Vegan World worked with the parents to challenge the decision citing human rights laws, and the council performed a U-turn. The local authority has now produced a range of choices that cater for vegans and confirmed it is available on request to pupils throughout the region.

This follows a similar case in Glasgow City Council when a couple challenged their failure to provide a full vegan menu for their daughter in nursery.

The council then produced a three-week vegan menu and confirmed that this is now available on request throughout the Glasgow area, in schools and nurseries.

At present most of Scotland’s schools do not offer any clearly labelled vegan options for pupils on their standard menus.

Go Vegan World’s legal representative, Barbara Bolton, said: “Vegans have the same protections as those who hold religious beliefs. They have the right to live according to their moral conviction that it is wrong to use and kill other animals and they must not be discriminated against.

“We are working to raise awareness among vegans so they have the information they need to challenge rights breaches, whether that be a failure to provide suitable food in school, hospital or prison, difficulties at work, or challenging indoctrination in school through teaching in a way that conflicts with the vegan philosophy. We are assisting vegans with rights-based challenges whenever we can.”

Go Vegan World said it is helping another parent with a child in a school in the Scottish Borders who is challenging the council’s refusal to provide vegan options.

The group says in that case the council has said it cannot provide vegan meals, claiming it is not possible to provide food that complies with the nutritional requirements for school meals.

Ms Bolton added: “That is quite clearly inaccurate. They do not appear to be aware the British Dietetics Association has long confirmed that we can get all the nutrients we need on a fully plant-based diet at every stage of life. If Glasgow and East Renfrewshire can create a vegan menu that complies with the current nutritional requirements for schools, the Borders can too.”

A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council confirmed they had “worked closely” with parents to ensure a suitable solution was reached.

They added: “We provide more than 11,000 meals 
every day across all our schools and cater for a wide range of dietary requirements, including allergen-free, kosher, halal, celiac and gluten-free options.

“Any parent or carer who requests a meal to meet the needs of a special diet, which includes vegan meals, will be catered for to ensure we continue to offer a wide-ranging menu which is inclusive for all.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is for councils to consider the food on offer and we expect them to make reasonable efforts to accommodate dietary requirements so it is welcome to see these options being made available to pupils.”]]>
Public Forum Mon, 13 May 2019 09:50:08 +0000
Subject: East Renfrewshire Council chiefs quizzed over snub for bid to tape Cabinet meetings - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45799-east-renfrewshire-council-chiefs-quizzed-over-snub-for-bid-to-tape-cabinet-meetings#45799 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45799-east-renfrewshire-council-chiefs-quizzed-over-snub-for-bid-to-tape-cabinet-meetings#45799
Councillor David Macdonald asked council leaders why a member of the public hadn’t been granted permission to record Cabinet meetings in March and April.

Reading from the minutes of one of the meetings, he said: “The deputy leader intimated that a request had been received for permission to audio record the meeting. Having given consideration to the request, the Cabinet decided that permission be denied.”

Mr Macdonald, who represents Clarkston, Netherlee and Williamwood as an Independent, added: “Because no reasons are minuted, it seems to go against council policy to encourage openness and transparency and I would appreciate if somebody could establish what the course of action is going forward for other meetings.”

Tory councillor Stewart Miller also questioned the decision.

He said: “Is there a reason for it? We do allow recording at the audit and scrutiny committee. There’s surely got to be a reason for not allowing the public to record.

“I can understand why they didn’t do it if there’s an exempt item but the full thing? I cannot understand that one.”

Council leader and Cabinet chairman Tony Buchanan said all elected members on the committee had agreed audio recording wouldn’t be allowed.

He added: “At the Cabinet meetings, there is more than ample coverage of any discussions that we have.

“The papers are brought forward for ratification, there is the opportunity for audit and scrutiny to call it in and the public may attend if they so choose and hear the information that is being discussed.

“Following one of the decisions that we took not to allow audio recording, the individual who requested it immediately left, so did not show any interest in the work of the Cabinet or the papers that were there for discussion.

“We see no need to allow that at present.”

Councillor Paul O’Kane, who is Cabinet vice-chairman, said a precedent had already been set ahead of the request being made.

He continued: “The council doesn’t formally record in an audio and visual sense. It keeps a minute record of the decisions that are taken under discussion.

“It was decided by councillors that it was appropriate that, as the council itself doesn’t audio record, that wasn’t open to people in the gallery.”]]>
Public Forum Sat, 11 May 2019 16:58:55 +0000
Subject: Parking Restrictions - Davieland Rd & various other roads near Rouken Glen Park Giffnock - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45798-parking-restrictions-davieland-rd-a-various-other-roads-near-rouken-glen-park-giffnock#45798 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45798-parking-restrictions-davieland-rd-a-various-other-roads-near-rouken-glen-park-giffnock#45798 East Renfrewshire Council
TYPE:
Traffic
PUBLISHED:10/05/2019
EXPIRES:01/12/2020
ADDRESS:
Davieland Rd & various other roads
near Rouken Glen Park
Giffnock
East Renfrewshire Council
The East Renfrewshire Council
(Davieland Road, Giffnock and various side roads)
(Temporary Restriction to Use of Road)
Order 2019

On the 10 May 2019 the Council made the above named Order under Section 14 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to improve safety for all road users which is significantly compromised by dangerous and inconsiderate parking taking place on Davieland Road and other roads located close to Rouken Glen Park, particularly during events or other busy periods which attract large numbers of visitor to the park.

The Order will permit parking restrictions to be implemented as and when deemed necessary (typically around junctions but also on other sections of the roads if required) and only when indicated by appropriate signage i.e. yellow ’No Waiting’ cones, on the roads specified below commencing 1 June 2019 for a maximum period of up to 18 months, as permitted by legislation.

Roads included in the Order:
Davieland Road, Treemain Road, Torrington Avenue, Milverton Road, Langtree Avenue, Norwood Drive, Lynton Avenue.]]>
Public Forum Sat, 11 May 2019 10:11:02 +0000
Subject: The Leisure Trust CEO eventually admits - 'net financial growth has been below original forecasts.' - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45797-the-leisure-trust-ceo-eventually-admits-net-financial-growth-has-been-below-original-forecasts#45797 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45797-the-leisure-trust-ceo-eventually-admits-net-financial-growth-has-been-below-original-forecasts#45797

'However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.'


The first FOI request regarding The Leisure Trust and Big Wave Media was made in October 2017.

This is now the 3rd FOI request, and only now do we get this 1 document.

Information received via FOI request (made 25 March 2019) -

Report to East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Board on 26 February 2019
Report by Chief Executive

Gyms, Fitness & Swimming Business Development Update

Purpose of Report:

To present to the Board an update of the Big Wave business development programme.

Recommendations

The Board is asked to note the contents of the report and comment as appropriate.

Gyms and Fitness and Swimming Development Programme

Summary

After two years of working in partnership with Big Wave Media Ltd (BWM) to develop our sports business a number of changes have been made, and advances realised in the gyms, fitness and learn to swim programmes.

We have developed a sales and retention culture in our centres, with detailed monthly targets across a number of indices, and new levels of reporting, accountability and management information.

Significant changes to the organisational culture, including further developments in customer care and quality have been made.

However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.

Whilst in part this undoubtedly reflects other external factors such as the significant growth in competitors in the period or the partial closure of sites, it has caused us to revaluate the programme, targets and budgets.

One aspect of this has been to revise the project governance, and the role of Big Wave Media.

Whilst we still use BWM for marketing and promotions, their Sales Director’s project management role has been brought in house at a saving of £22,000 p.a.

Background

In 2016 ERCL retained Big Wave Media Ltd., a marketing and consultancy firm, to assist in the development of the gyms and fitness and swimming programmes.

‘Audit’ Reports were undertaken over a two-day period in early December 2016 to assess the current business performance of the gym members and fitness classes, and learn to swim programme.

Based on a combination of an assessment of the facilities, performance to date, capacity and assessment of the market based on Experion demographics, forecasts for a three-year period were developed and a programme put in place to assist ERCL to grow the customer base accordingly.

These posited an increase in Gyms and Fitness Income over 4 years of £509, 472, and in swimming of £264, 204 over 3 years (£773,676).

Programme Scope

The programme introduced monthly targets for each venue with a focus on generating leads and referrals, making sales and increasing retention rates.

In addition to sales and marketing activity supporting this, the project also brought renewed focus on product, pricing and promotion and included:-

Review of pricing

Marketing and Communications

Product Design

Avoidable Contact (direct debit, website, mobile sales capability)

Analysis of yield per member / customer

Referrals and conversion rates

Retention rates and improvement in length of stay

Quality and customer satisfaction

Coach and staff quality – appraisals, CPD and performance management

Site capacity including pool programming, allocation of pool time, and intensity of pool / tank sizes

Occupancy rates

Progression of pupils and class members

Quality, quantity and type of Customer Interactions with staff

Integration of other services to create value or distinction

Adoption of technology (wearable tech, virtual support, apps and web-enabled programmes)

Infrastructure including car-parking, transport links, exterior signage

Local competition

Using a proprietary set of tools including site-specific sales, marketing and financial plans, yield calculators and supporting training, monthly meetings are held with key staff.

These meetings were previously over two days and were chaired by the BWM Sales Director, at which progress, issues and stratagems were discussed.

Subsequent training in areas such as making sales calls, or direct face to face selling, customer engagement and retention techniques or customer care was then put in place accordingly.

Progress to Date

Significant progress has been made in a number of these areas:

A reprice was undertaken in 2017/18

A revision of the concession policy, with a standardisation of discounts

The product structure was radically simplified and rationalised

A more commercial product development process was introduced

A clear product structure (including 12-month contracts) introduced.

Yield / Member has been increased by 6.5%

An online retention programme (“TRP”), which facilitates staff-customer interaction targets and appraisals, has been introduced.

Net Promoter Score capability has been developed for 2019

A new pool programme has been devised

A new learn to swim framework (product, brand and approach) has been developed for introduction 2019

A new operational staff structure for venues to extend opening hours has been developed for introduction 2019

A new suite of marketing materials, communications and promotions developed, tested and refined.

Management information has been improved significantly

Key Issues

1.Demand analysis undertaken across the organisation highlighted a number of issues impeding progress, including Venue Managers only being able to allocate 10% of their time to the project.

That time was consumed by the two-day meetings and compiling the reports, rather than the business development activities intended to drive growth.

Similar issues were experienced with other staff groups.

2.Whilst the initial forecasts promised a marked improvement in the bottom-line performance akin to a step change for both gyms and fitness and swimming, the reality is that improvement has been incremental.

(In 2018 gym membership was 13.9% up on the prior year, but this was only a third of the target suggested by BWM.)

3.The two-day monthly meetings, whilst time consuming for both operational and senior staff did have considerable value in the first year, with coaching and insight accompanying external challenge to drive change effectively.

By the second year colleagues felt the meetings were increasingly ineffective and inefficient, and training, coaching and insight had diminished to the extent they were protracted reporting and discussion forums.

4.The proprietary tools, whilst helping to change practices and work cultures in a number of teams very successfully, seemed derived for operating models that had different structures generally, and greater levels of staffing, particularly in front of house roles, or in support roles such as sales, communications and marketing.

5.Some conflicting advice from BWM highlighted that the methodology was increasingly at odds with the reality of ERCL’s situation and structure, as well as the particularities of our market and competition, and both the strategic direction and progress reporting was becoming skewed by this.

In 2018 we held review meetings with the Sales Director of BWM in spring, summer and autumn to discuss these issues and possible solutions.

In December we trialled a remodelled meeting and reporting structure, and project management approach and in discussion with staff groups decided to continue with the programme, but without the input of the BWM Sales Director, at a saving of £22,000 p.a.

Next Steps

Feb-Dec

Foundry Studio / sports hall refresh, electronic gates, café works


Gym equipment replacement and refresh

Net Promoter Score introduced

April 2019:-

new pool programme, promotions and recruitment

direct debit for swimming

revised management information.

August 2019

new centre opening hours

Recommendations

The Board is asked to note the progress of the programme, the key deliverables of which will continue to be reported on through the balanced scorecard.]]>
Public Forum Tue, 07 May 2019 11:34:42 +0000
Subject: ERC School Survey - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45793-erc-school-survey#45793 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45793-erc-school-survey#45793 erschoolssurvey.commonplace.is/

This short survey is aimed at parents, pupils, school staff and local communities and

will help gather views on school travel in your area. This includes an opportunity to comment on initiatives, incentives or improvements that would encourage more walking and cycling

Although we will be promoting this platform over the coming week, I would be grateful if you could share via your community contacts and networks.


To get started, click on ‘Have Your Say’. This includes

- survey for parents or guardians

- survey for school staff

- survey for local communities, aimed at residents and community groups

- An interactive map to identify specific issues, barriers or opportunities getting to school

- A survey for school pupils will be launched shortly

An initial deadline for feedback is 29 May 2019, however, the platform will be open throughout 2019 to assist with future planning.://erschoolssurvey.commonplace.is/]]>
Public Forum Mon, 29 Apr 2019 19:34:03 +0000
Subject: East Renfrewshire Council - Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018 - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45792-east-renfrewshire-council-freedom-of-information-annual-report-2018#45792 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45792-east-renfrewshire-council-freedom-of-information-annual-report-2018#45792 To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Cc: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Saturday, 27 Apr, 2019 At 12:55
Subject: RE: RE: Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018.

Hi Craig

I write in regard to my request of 17/2/2019 and again wish to raise my concerns and to make my requests.

I would request that to be more balanced and fair the report includes more on the problems/views etc from those East Renfrewshire Council Tax payers who make FOI requests and are users of the system(and pay for the system).

You should actively seek these views as they are relevant to the Report.

I would also request that my email of 25/04/2018 to the Cabinet is included in the 2018 report as fallout from the 2017 report and is indeed essential to the background of the 2018 report.

The 2017 report was hijacked by the Cabinet and used in what can only be described as bordering on a ‘witch-hunt’ to attack those Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers were attacked by the Cabinet, the tone towards them was hostile and words used by Councillors against East Renfrewshire Residents such as 'weeded out' and 'grapple'

- 'that those who use FOI laws, should be “weeded out.” '

- 'it’s bad enough that we have to grapple with our local residents'

were unnecessarily inflammatory.

There was no attempt to give a balanced view on the benefits of Freedom of Information and the Democratic right to hold Councils and Administrations etc to account.

Again, I am concerned that at the Cabinet meeting of 5 April 2018 it was my understanding that the Cabinet requested the following be included in the 2018 Report -

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide a list of the names of East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests and make this list available to Cabinet.

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI request, and make this information available to Cabinet.

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of On Line WebSites to identify what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI requests, and make this information available to Cabinet.

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details specifically of an On Line WebSite known as East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch, and make this information available to Cabinet.

I would request that details of FoI requests for reviews that were the result of ERC errors/mistakes/lack of knowledge of the FoI act be included.

There is additional costs and time associated with these reviews to those who make requests.

The report should not be giving opinions on the financial implication to the Council.

The report should not be giving opinions on the use of exemptions or fees.(If needed, under the fees section it should give the regulations of what fees can be charged and the statistical numbers of request where fees were charged).

If the report wishes to introduce these matters then to remain impartial, the report must also attempt to quantify the benefits of FoI .

Freedom of Information is now more important than ever due to -

- Council refusal to webcast Council Committee meetings

- Cabinet Committee refusing to allow audio recording of meeting.

- 3 month delay in publishing Leisure Trust Board Meeting minutes

- Threats from Council Officials to deny FOI requests.


Your help with this matter is appreciated.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
From: "Geddes, Craig" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Wednesday, 27 Feb, 2019 At 17:43
Subject: RE: RE: Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018.

The Chief Executive asked that, in keeping with other annual reports, the FoI annual report should run to 31st March.

I will therefore be looking at this at the beginning of May (to allow the processing of all requests received up to and including 31/3/19) and this year’s “annual” report will be cover requests received in the period 1/1/18 - 31/3/19.

No “Customer Survey” has been carried out; this is simply a statistical report so there are no plans to conduct a survey. I have nothing to add to that; nor can I comment on any comments made after I have produced the report.

Thanks for your suggestions; I will give these consideration at the time we start to bring the report together.

Craig Geddes
Council Records Manager
East Renfrewshire Council


Sent: 27 February 2019 16:59
To: Geddes, Craig < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: Maxwell, Graeme < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Re: RE: Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018.

Hi Craig

'noted' seems such a nothing word.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'noted' . What happens next regarding my requests below?

Thanks


----Original message----
From : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date : 27/02/2019 - 16:28 (GMT)
Cc : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject : RE: Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018.

received and noted


Craig Geddes
Council Records Manager
East Renfrewshire Council


Sent: 27 February 2019 16:25
To: Geddes, Craig; Maxwell, Graeme
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018.


Hi

With the previous problems regarding your email system and my emails, would appreciate acknowledgement/reply to confirm receipt.

Thanks


----Original message----
Date : 17/02/2019 - 12:50 (GMT)
To : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject : Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018.

Hi Craig and Graeme

I write regarding Freedom of Information Annual Report 2018.

I am concerned that at the Cabinet meeting of 5 April 2018 it was my understanding that the Cabinet requested the following be included in the 2018 Report -

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide a list of the names of East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests and make this list available to Cabinet.

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI request, and make this information available to Cabinet.

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of On Line WebSites to identify what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI requests, and make this information available to Cabinet.

- The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details specifically of an On Line WebSite known as East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch, and make this information available to Cabinet.

I would request that to be more balanced and fair the report includes more on the problems/views etc from those East Renfrewshire Council Tax payers who make FOI requests and are users of the system(and pay for the system).

You should actively seek these views as they are relevant to the Report.

Is a customer survey undertaken? If not, why not?

I would also request that my email below (25/04/2018) to the Cabinet is included in the 2018 report as a reference to the 2017 report and is indeed essential to the background of the 2018 report.

The 2017 report was hijacked by the Cabinet and used in what can only be described as bordering on a ‘witch-hunt’ to attack those Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers were attacked by the Cabinet, the tone towards them was hostile and words used by Councillors against East Renfrewshire Residents such as 'weeded out' and 'grapple'

- 'that those who use FOI laws, should be “weeded out.” '

- 'it’s bad enough that we have to grapple with our local residents'

were unnecessarily inflammatory.

There was no attempt to give a balanced view on the benefits of Freedom of Information and the Democratic right to hold Councils and Administrations etc to account.

I would request that details of FoI requests for reviews that were the result of ERC errors/mistakes/lack of knowledge of the FoI act be included.

There is additional costs and time associated with these reviews to those who make requests.

The Report is a statistical report.

The report should not be giving opinions on the financial implication to the Council.

The report should not be giving opinions on the use of exemptions or fees.(If needed, under the fees section it should give the regulations of what fees can be charged and the statistical numbers of request where fees were charged).

If the report wishes to introduce these matters then to remain impartial, the report must also attempt to quantify the benefits of FoI .

Freedom of Information is now more important than ever due to -

- Council refusal to webcast Council Committee meetings

- Cabinet Committee refusing to allow audio recording of meeting.

- Threats from Council Officials to deny FOI requests.

Your help with this matter is appreciated.

Thanks

----Original message----
From : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date : 04/05/2018 - 10:25 (BST)
Subject : RE: Cabinet Meeting - FoI attack - A Personal Opinion and View from the Public Gallery

The FoI annual report followed a similar format to that used in previous years. Beyond giving some examples of the types of requests received, with more information on any which had gone to appeal, it has not been considered necessary to give further details of individual requests or reviews.

Yours
Craig Geddes
Council Records Manager
East Renfrewshire Council


Sent: 27 April 2018 09:41
To: Mahon, Gerry; Geddes, Craig
Subject: Fwd: Cabinet Meeting - FoI attack - A Personal Opinion and View from the Public Gallery

Hi Gerry and Craig

You will be interested in below.

Would appreciate if you could say why the Annual Report did not give any details of FoI requests for reviews that were the result of ERC errors/mistakes/lack of knowledge of FoI act.

I have listed 3 examples.

I am sure there are more.

There was additional costs and time associated with these reviews due to ERC errors/mistakes/lack of knowledge of FoI act, to myself and I presume to ERC.

Thanks

----Original message----
Date : 25/04/2018 - 15:32 (GMTST)
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,paul.o' This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject : Cabinet Meeting - FoI attack - A Personal Opinion and View from the Public Gallery

Dear East Renfrewshire Council Cabinet Member

A Personal Opinion and View from the Public Gallery

Meeting of the Cabinet held in the Council Chamber, East Renfrewshire Council(ERC)on Thursday 5 April 2018 at 10:00am.

Agenda Item No. 5 - Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) Freedom of Information Annual Report 2017.

I was present in the Public Gallery for this Item.

Make no mistake, in my opinion, this meeting was conducted by the Cabinet in a hostile and aggressive atmosphere towards ERC Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

In my opinion this Agenda Item was hijacked and bordered on a ‘witch-hunt’ to attack those Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

There was no attempt to give a balanced view on the benefits of Freedom of Information and the Democratic right to hold Councils and Administrations etc to account.

Barrhead News subsequently reported -

’An East Renfrewshire councillor has attacked the press and public over Freedom of Information requests.

He demanded that those who use FOI laws, which give everyone the right to ask for any information held by a Scottish public authority, be “weeded out.”

Councillor Lafferty also complained about residents’ use of FOIs after it was claimed the local authority spends in excess of £100,000-a-year responding to requests.

“It’s bad enough that we have to grapple with our local residents but at least they are our residents.”

Independent councillor Danny Devlin claimed that some information being used by community groups was “on the verge of cyber-bullying.”

And council leader Tony Buchanan questioned why details of FOI applicants aren’t made public.

He said: “I do have some concerns as to how some of this is used, particularly in terms of the cost to the taxpayer.

“Freedom of Information allows transparency of what we do but there seems to be no transparency on the individuals who have made the requests on several occasions.” ‘

I agree that East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers were attacked, the tone of the meeting towards East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers was hostile and that words such as “weeded out.” and ‘grapple’ were unnecessarily inflammatory.

The tone of the meeting and the language used against law abiding East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers made me feel, as one who has made FoI requests, and sitting in the Public Gallery, intimidated and threatened.

Making a FoI request is not illegal but part of the Democratic process.

I have made several FoI requests to ERC.

I have included my name and address (and email address) on ALL my FoI requests to identify myself as an East Renfrewshire Resident/Council Tax Payer and that the request is of interest to myself and East Renfrewshire Resident/Council Tax Payers.

I did not have to provide this information.

Cllr Lafferty knows my name & address. Cabinet knows my name and address as Cllr Lafferty is a member of Cabinet.

The Council’s Records Manager knows my name & address as as I have provided them in exchanged emails regarding FoI requests.

Gerry Mahon, Chief Officer Legal and Procurement knows my name & address as as I have provided them in exchanged emails regarding FoI requests.

As my name & address are known, why would Cabinet and especially Cllr Tony Buchanan

‘And council leader Tony Buchanan questioned why details of FOI applicants aren’t made public.’

want to compile a list,

- if it is not for the purpose to name & shame those who make FoI requests.

- use this list as a ‘Blacklist’ to be used against those who make FoI requests.

I would not expect my name(and any other details) to appear on a list compiled by the Council’s Record Manager to be submitted to Cabinet for the purpose of being named and in the opinion of the Cabinet, shamed by them for making a FoI request.

My name & address is known to all the relevant ERC Officials and ERC Councillors.

They don’t need to produce a list.

If there is a problem they can contact me directly.

Again to be clear in my opinion -

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide a list of the names of East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests and make this list available to Cabinet.

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI request, and make this information available to Cabinet.

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of On Line WebSites to identify what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI requests, and make this information available to Cabinet.

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details specifically of an On Line WebSite known as East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch, and make this information available to Cabinet.

I would ask Cabinet to confirm -

- My FoI requests have been within the FoI act legislation.

- I have done nothing illegal as regards these FoI requests and have done nothing illegal with the provided answers/replies.

- that using, in any way I see fit, the information received from an FoI request as long as it is within the law, is not illegal.

- an On Line WebSite known as East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch is operating within the law.

Cllr Lafferty had the opportunity to demonstrate that this was not a ‘witch-hunt’ by raising the issues I had highlighted regarding the Annual Report. I considered my comments regarding these issues both constructive and relevant to the overall balance of the report and worthy of debate by Cabinet.

Cllr Lafferty refused to do so.

In my opinion this confirmed that this Agenda Item had nothing to do with the Annual Report but was hijacked to attack those Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

I have attached my request to Cabinet member Cllr Lafferty below. I do not think this was an unreasonable request -

Have read the report further.......

This is only a statistical report.

The author seems to be giving their own opinion on matters which do not concern the report -

FINANCE AND EFFICIENCY

6. The continued growth in the volume of requests is having a financial implication on the Council in terms of demands on the staffing resource. This has not been formally quantified but the impact is considered in the report

This is not relevant to this statistical report -

'It also considers the use of exemptions and fees',

If needed, under the fees section it should give the regulations of what fees can be charged and the statistical numbers of request where fees were charged.

Again this is not relevant to this statistical report -

Further guidance on the use of fees is being developed and the issue is being considered by Cabinet.

Again this is not relevant to this statistical report and anyway with the inclusion of may, casts doubt on the figures -

It is difficult to accurately quantify the financial impact of FoI but in terms of man hours, the 1296 requests received in 2017 may have cost the equivalent of approximately 4 FTE “man/years”

If the report wishes to introduce these matters then to remain impartial, the report must also attempt to quantify the benefits of FoI .

Again along with below, can you raise with the committee(and any other relevant persons) regarding the reports shortcomings.

I refer to meeting of the Cabinet to be held in the Council Chamber, East Renfrewshire Council on Thursday 5 April 2018 at 10:00am.

I refer in particular to agenda Item No. 5 - Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) Freedom of Information Annual Report 2017 and

Para 6 Fees

Further guidance on the use of fees is being developed and the issue is being considered by Cabinet.

Can you give more details on this please.

Can you give assurances that the use of fees are not to be used to deter East Renfrewshire Constituents from making FoI requests.

Can you raise the following with the committee (andany other relevant persons) regarding the reports shortcomings -

Most of the FoIs where I have had to request a review were due to ERC errors/mistakes/lack of knowledge of FoI act. These are not represented in the report.

3 recent examples of apologies from Gerry Mahon regarding FoI wrongly refused -

- 'I am however conscious that the Trust did not ask if you wished to refine your request to make it more manageable in terms of their obligation to provide reasonable advice and assistance in terms of section 15 of the Act. I would therefore apologise for this oversight and make such an offer now. Please advise if there are any specific aspects of your request which are of particular significance to you in this regard.'

- '"What confusion are you apologising for?" - I understand that the reference to confusion arose as a result of the department initially indicating to you that they held no information regarding a building conditions survey and then upon further investigation identifying and intimating that such a survey was in existence. '

- 'Having considered the terms of the Council's response I am satisfied that it does not fulfil the requirements of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 insofar as it does not provide identification of the statutory basis upon which certain information has been withheld from disclosure. This being the case, I would apologise unreservedly on behalf of the Council.'

Again the report does not emphasise that Gerry Mahon has stated FoI is normally a 2 Stage process -

'Mr Mahon, Chief Officer – Legal and Procurement, has previously clarified -

'As you will be aware the Council's response to an FOI request does not merely revolve around the initial request but also the review process. '
'It is hoped that any human error in relation to the 1st part of the process is properly remedied at the 2nd stage.' '


In my opinion the Barrhead News report reflects my opinion and view of how this Agenda Item was conducted by Cabinet.

A Council Official made a long comment at the end of the Agenda Item, but as they turned their head sideways and did not speak directly into the microphone, I did not hear what they said.

I presume their comments will be minuted.

Thanks]]>
Public Forum Sat, 27 Apr 2019 14:08:27 +0000
Subject: Full Council Meeting - Wednesday 1 May 2019 at 7.00 pm - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45786-full-council-meeting-wednesday-1-may-2019-at-700-pm#45786 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45786-full-council-meeting-wednesday-1-may-2019-at-700-pm#45786
Wednesday 1 May 2019 at 7.00 pm.

Agenda -

Prior to the commencement of the meeting the Provost will make a statement that the meeting will be webcast live and recorded for later publicly accessible archive viewing.

PROGRAMME OF BUSINESS

1. Report apologies for absence.

2. Declarations of Interest.

3. Submit for approval as a correct record and signature the Minute of meeting of the Council held on 28 February 2019.

4.Submit for approval as a correct record the Minutes of meetings for the period 1 March to 30 April 2019.

5. Items Remitted to the Council
(i) General Fund Capital Programme -
Report by Chief Financial Officer (copy attached, pages 3 - 30)(Cabinet – 14 March 2019).
Cabinet Recommendation That the amendments to the Programme be approved.
(i) Housing Capital Programme -
Joint Report by Chief Financial Officer and Director of Environment (copy attached, pages 31 - 38)(Cabinet – 14 March 2019).
Cabinet Recommendation That the amendments to the Programme be approved.

6. Statements by Conveners/Representatives on Joint Boards/Committees.

7. East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust Board Appointments – Report by Director of Education (copy attached, pages 39 - 42).

8. Provost’s Engagements – Report by Deputy Chief Executive (copy attached, pages 43 - 44).

9. Vision for the Future – Report by Chief Executive (copy attached, pages 45 - 96).

10. European Elections – Changes to Polling Places – Report by Chief Executive (copy attached, pages 97 - 98).

11.Calendar of Meetings 2020 – Report by Deputy Chief Executive
(copy attached, pages 99 - 102).

You can read the full Agenda/Papers here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=24354&p=0

You can read the Minute Volume here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=24334&p=0]]>
Public Forum Fri, 26 Apr 2019 15:25:20 +0000